Reflections on Loving Your Neighbhor (revisited)
As I read through the Gospel of Luke last night, I couldn't help but reflect over the 'Golden Rule':
We are often told to love our neighbors. Love your neighbors--it's the right thing to do. Hell, I've heard it so much that I almost thought the command was "Love the Lord your God with all your heart...and love your neighbors." But this is not the case; Jesus and the writers of Leviticus added a tiny detail that transforms the command completely. Yes, I am supposed to love my neighbors, but I am supposed to love them as I love myself
It's a paradox. I can forgive someone who wrongs me, but, myself? That's a little more difficult. We are our own worst critics. We hold ourselves to standards that perhaps are far out of our reach. I often ponder over this. Do I think I'm superhuman? Do I just dislike myself? Or, worse yet: Do I think I'm better than others? These are questions I still have yet to answer, and I honestly believe it's a life worth of work!
But, now? I'm going easier on myself.
My friends, I urge you all to love your neighbors. But always remember: the way you love them should be the same way you love yourself. Treat yourself with the same kindness and respect you treat others. Forgive yourself the same way you would forgive a friend.
After all: We are a people forgiven.
You definitely get it. Thank you for posting this.
Give the man a Cupie Doll! He grabbed the brass ring. he knocked over the whole pile of milk bottles (even the one that was nailed down to keep anyone from winning! ;))
You have grasped the concept precisely. You ain't doing your neighbor any favors by loving them like yourself if you hate, loath, despise, and beat yourself up! The only way Jesus admonition makes ANY sense is if we love our ourselves as God loved us in Christ!
Loving yourself seems so contrary to a life of humility and service. The truth is though that we must learn to see ourselves as God sees us. God is not swayed by our physical appearance, the house we live in or the car we drive. He doesn't notice the hair style, makeup or color of your skin. All the things we judge ourselves for and don't like God sees past. So loving our selves is accepting our outward appearances as trivial and loving what God sees, our heart. Sometimes thats harder.
You're exactly right...
I believe that the way we love others reflects the way we love ourselves.
If we can see someone compassionately, even when the mess up, we can see ourselves compassionately.
And it's equally true on the flipside...
Learning to love, to forgive, to be compassionate... it's essential to living a full, happy life as an individual. It's also paramount to being in communion with others.
Growing up with a father who hated himself really made this point clear to me. He was really incapable of loving anyone else. He was incapable of admitting a mistake, incapable of showing love, incapable of forgiveness. So much of his life was wrapped up in a struggle to appear strong, right, in control. He couldn't handle any blow to his ego without exploding.
This whole idea is why I refuse to sing the line in "Amazing Grace" that says, "...saved a wretch like me." I'm not a wretch. A sinner in need of God's forgiveness yes, but a loved child of God who bears the image of God.
Tu Amigo, Pablo
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